Getting on the property ladder: the latest London homes for first-time buyers

The prospects for first-time buyers are brighter than they have been for years. But saving for a deposit and finding the right home still require sacrifices - and doing your homework.
First-time buyers have never had it so bad — thanks to eye-watering property price rises and tough restrictions on lending — yet, at last, the future looks much brighter.
 
Prices in London are steady for the first time in five years; stamp duty has been reduced, more lenders are offering 95 per cent mortgages, ever more shared-ownership deals are around, and interest rates look set to stay at their record low for some time yet.
 
Right now in London buying is about 10 per cent cheaper than renting, with typical costs of £1,275 a month when buying, and £1,387 when renting, according to Halifax, which has trimmed two-year fixed mortgages for first-time borrowers, including shared ownership buyers, to 2.94 per cent.

HOT HOMES IN LONDON PRICED UNDER £250,000

 
SAVINGS PUSH
Research by housing association family Mosaic shows more young Londoners are taking on second jobs, working overtime, cancelling gym memberships, foregoing holidays, and cycling to work to save and build up a deposit.
 
A good many inner city areas as well as outer travel zones are within the budget of first-time buyers, with many properties in the £200,000-£300,000 price bracket, and part shares starting at less £70,000.
 
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From £205,000: Salisbury Gardens, a new Barratt scheme in Southall, will feature 103 homes
 
IT’S SHOWTIME
The First Time Buyer Show taking place at the Business Design Centre in Islington on Saturday has new spring home launches. London’s main housing associations as well as private developers and estate agents are exhibiting. Mortgage advisers and lawyers will also be on hand, plus there are free seminars explaining the ins and outs of low-cost options such as shared ownership and Help-to-Buy. Visit www.ftbhomeshow.co.uk
 
BUYING DISCOUNTS
L&Q housing association is promoting “PricedIn”, a campaign to bring affordable homes to young Londoners, and some of the homes on offer are close to the venue. Harrington Court at Hornsey Rise has 28 flats priced from £174,995 for a 35 per cent share. Call 0844 4069800.
 
First-time buyers working in west London boroughs qualify for “discount market” flats priced from £280,000 at Barratt’s Great West Quarter in Brentford. Call 0844 811 4321.
 
This low-cost initiative helps buyers overcome the hurdle of having to put down a big deposit. Buyers have full ownership of the property and pay no rent, only mortgage repayments. But a deed of covenant gives the local council the right to buy back the property if the buyer chooses to sell. The owner would receive 70 per cent of the prevailing open market value.
 
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From £240,000: Aura is a new development in Edgware constructed around manicured gardens and a central pond

CANALSIDE LIVING
Developers continue to unlock derelict canalside sites still in need of cleaning up. They’re cheaper, quiet, car-free and have good transport links.
 
Royal Quay, overlooking Limehouse Cut, has 90 flats set behind original warehouse façades. Prices from £250,000. Call Regal Homes on 020 7328 7171.
 
Southall, part of the Heathrow Quarter in west London (therefore suffering plane noise), is earmarked for housing growth. Grand Union Canal runs through the area and it will have a new Crossrail station in 2018.
 
At Salisbury Gardens, a new scheme of 103 homes, prices start at £205,000. Call Barratt on 0844 8114321.
 

Edgware, in north-west London, has also been designated a key regeneration zone and will benefit from fast-track planning and development. Last week, Boris Johnson announced that the Northern line Tube service to Edgware will operate 24 hours a day by the end of this year. Aura, with 189 homes, is one of the new schemes rising. Prices from £240,000. Call Weston Homes on 01279 873 300.
 
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£76,876: for a quarter share of a flat at Spectra, Wandsworth, the Octavia Living’s follow-on phase from Illumina House
 
MALL GREEN LIGHT
Croydon is launching several key town-centre projects, including £1 billion Westfield shopping mall — getting the green light after a decade-long planning wrangle.
 
With the town’s commercial heart getting sorted, house builders are stepping forward.
 
Morello Quarter is the latest launch, 290 apartments adjacent to East Croydon train station, one of the best-connected outer-London transport hubs, with 27 trains an hour to the centre — London Bridge and Victoria in 15 minutes — and a through-the-night service to Gatwick. Morello Quarter also has landscaped gardens, an on-site gym, café and concierge reception. Prices from £259,995. Call Redrow on 020 3305 5057.
 
PINPOINT SEARCH
Much activity is being channelled through the mayor’s First Steps programme, which promotes shared ownership. Visit www.sharetobuy.com. This offers a simple registration and search service, allowing people to pinpoint affordable homes on a borough-by-borough basis.
 
All first-time buyers earning between £15,000 and £60,000 are eligible. Typically, applicants must have at least £4,000 in savings to cover the cost of buying a home. This amount is in addition to the minimum five per cent required by a lender. Some properties are available “off-plan”, usually several months before they are complete, allowing buyers to organise their move.
 
‘I THOUGHT I’D BE RENTING FOR LIFE’
Events and catering designer Rachel Warren, 35, believed she would be renting for life in order to be able to afford and enjoy the London lifestyle.
 
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Living the dream: Rachel Warren had given up on buying her own home. Image: S Saunders / Digital Nation Photography

“I had given up the dream of buying a home in Wandsworth, where I wanted to live, and was quite content renting a room in a shared property with four other people.”
 
Then she discovered shared ownership, and was able to purchase a 45 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat at a development called Illumina House. That was in 2013. She paid £126,000 and has since bought another 20 per cent of equity. She hopes to “staircase” to full ownership within the next five years. In addition to mortgage payments, she pays rent of £352 per month plus a service charge of £110 per month.
 
Octavia Living, the housing association, is also offering shared ownership at Spectra, postcode SW18. Prices from £76,876 for a 25 per cent share. Call 020 8354 5500.
 

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